Friday, July 26, 2013

Business Spotlight - Downeast Sharpening

For 23 years, Glenn Gisel has been keeping the region sharp, or at least their tools. When he retired from the Navy he was looking for something to do. “There was nobody around here that does sharpening,” Gisel said. “I like it. It’s challenging at times. There’s a need for it.”   He went to school for saw and tool sharpening.

Soon he was asked if he could tune up the lawnmowers and chainsaws, so he returned to school so he could do minor repairs and tune ups for small engines.

He can sharpen most items, he said, as well as do small engine repair for lawn and garden mowers, tractors and rototillers. He has specific training in many brands like Briggs and Stratton, which he holds a master service technician certification. “You have to do it right, or you’re done. You won’t get the repeat business,” he said. Most of his business is repeat business and word of mouth business, he added. People travel from as far away as South Portland and Lisbon Falls for his services.

He works with one other man and his wife and to say he is busy doesn’t come close. “Busy is an understatement,” Gisel said.

Downeast Sharpening is ope
n year-round and Gisel also services and sharpens snowblowers, he said. From small knives to ice skate blades, anything that can be sharpened he has the right tool.
Downeast Sharpening has 24 different sharpening machines.

The normal turnaround time at the shop is two weeks, but they try to get work done in one.
The shop is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays. They are closed on Sundays.

Gisel’s future plans involve retirement, but he doesn’t see that happening anytime soon. “I’ll probably be out here in my walker,” he said.

For more information on the types of products they sell, service and sharpen, visit or call 655-4635.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Business spotlight on Arkie Rogers Septic Service

“One call does it all!”

In 1964, Arkie Rogers started providing a much needed service. Now, the third generation of Rogers family owns and operates Arkie Rogers Septic Service. David, Joan and Dan Rogers bought the company in 1989 and have continued to build their reputation in the lakes region. From Scarborough to Bridgton, the red trucks can be seen on the road year-round doing both commercial and residential work. Septic services are more than just emptying a septic tank, which of course they do, but it’s also maintenance, repair, instillation of new and replacement systems, installing septic pumps, jetting service to remove blockages and tree roots, video camera capability, septic inspections and scheduled maintenance program for those who don’t want to think about when they last had their system checked. Arkie Rogers is also Maine Department of Health and Human Services certified.

The company employs seven people and has five trucks.
“We’re busy. We have a lot of repetitive customers,” said Joan, who is the treasurer of the company.

All of the waste is taken to Auburn-Lewiston, Portland or Westbrook treatment plants.

Despite what people may think, septic service is not a messy business most of the time. New trucks called “jugglers” separate the water and the solid waste making the new trucks environmentally sound, Joan said. In the old days if a hose broke it wasn’t a good thing, but now it’s less likely to happen with advancements in equipment.

“It’s not fun to smell the trucks,” said Tammy-Jo Ladd, who works for the company.

“But it’s pretty clean,” Joan added.  

As a general rule, a family of two should pump their tank every five years. A family on 4, every three years and a family of six, every two years.
For more information or to schedule service, visit or call 892-9126.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Spotlight On: One Sweet Touch

Tucked in among bright sunflowers and verdant stalks of ornamental grass are unexpected treats – chocolates – all arranged in a shell-filled silver pitcher. It’s just one of the many colorful and tasty bouquets made by One Sweet Touch.

Begun by Nikki Doyle, of Raymond, and Megan Garland, of Standish, One Sweet Touch offers pre-made or custom-made arrangements as well as centerpieces for parties and weddings.
With One Sweet Touch, Doyle returns to a craft she once enjoyed. Several years ago, she had initially seen bouquets made of candy alone. “I thought they could be a lot prettier, a lot more appealing,” she said. She added flowers and decorative flair.

“I made them and sold them to florists and whatnot,” said Doyle. She had taken a break for a while and had begun making a new arrangement when Garland visited a few weeks ago. The two started brainstorming and the idea for a business was born.

Arranging the candy and flowers or gifts in reusable containers gives people a lasting container after the treats are gone, said Garland. There are flower pots, baskets, mugs and more, each filled with an assortment of coordinating sports paraphernalia, flowers or other decorations. There are even baskets with dog biscuits and rope toys.

Working on the weekends and a couple of weekday nights – Doyle is a technician at Blackstrap Hill Veterinary Clinic and Garland works as a nanny while completing nursing school –  the lifelong friends have put together a great variety of products to suit all gift-giving situations, said Doyle.
The two use different methods to create their craft. Doyle sets out assembling constituent parts with a clear vision in mind while Garland gathers things that appeal to her and lets them come together organically as she works. Friends since they were young, the pair works well together and each frequently finishes the other’s thoughts. Their complementary perspectives are helpful, said Doyle.
“We make sure they’re nice vases, very stable, with good flowers and tasty candy,” said Doyle. The containers range from vases to mugs, decorative buckets, baskets and flower pots. All can be used again. So can the flowers, feathers and baubles that complete the arrangements.

One Sweet Touch offers customized products. Doyle said, “You can customize it to a T with what you want, or you can say, ‘You guys work your magic.’” In addition, delivery may be an option.
One Sweet Touch will be attending upcoming craft shows, especially around the holiday season. Check the One Sweet Touch Facebook page often for news and updates, email or call 615-5945 for more information.

Windham Millwork wins Civic Center contract

According to the Windham Millwork website, “Windham Millwork, Inc. has been selected as the architectural woodworking company to provide its custom woodwork to the new renovations at The Cumberland County Civic Center in Portland. The Civic Center was built in 1977 and will see significant renovations this coming year. The renovations will increase the building by 20,000 square feet. In addition to the increase in size the arena will also be given a face lift to the existing structure. New entrances to the building, new lobbies including stairs, elevators and escalators. Additional restrooms, concession and merchandising area will be added as well. There will be new private suites and club team offices, administrative offices, locker rooms, a larger ticket lobby and a complete retrofitting of the 7,000 arena seats.

In 1977, WMI was chosen as the architectural woodworking company of the original Civic Center. ”It is incredible how our company has been a part of both historic moments in Portland. Our ability to remain involved in a project we completed over 36 years ago really solidifies the type of millwork company we have become,” says Roger Varney VP of Manufacturing at WMI. Windham Millwork will be responsible for the entire interior woodwork package of the new renovations. This includes all of custom woodwork in the restrooms, concession, merchandising area, private suites, team offices, administrative offices, locker rooms and ticket lobby. Cabinets, solid surface countertops, trim, vanities, locker room benches and custom millwork will be furnished and installed by WMI.

WMI is proud to be selected to provide the architectural woodwork in the newly renovated arena in Portland. The Cumberland County Civic Center is planned to open in November 2013. This will be the second arena completed by Windham Millwork this year, the other being The Cross Insurance Center in Bangor, Maine.”

For more information on Windham Millwork visit

Monday, July 8, 2013

Spotlight On: Time4Wrapz

Vehicle wraps are the most cost effective form of advertising, said Niels Mank, owner of Time4Wrapz, a division of Time4Printing in Windham.

In 2010, they began wrapping cars, making signs and lettering vehicles for businesses in the area. Now, the business has transformed into a full-service vehicle graphics and signage company.

“It’s advertising that works for your 24/7 where ever it sits, day or night. If you have a trailer, you’re driving around with a large billboard area behind you that you can advertise on. Make it work for you,” Mank said. 

Each wrap is custom designed and applied to whatever the customer asks for. Customers bring in their ideas or a concept and the graphic designer will create a 3-D template that will show exactly what the wrap will look like on a particular vehicle and it is all done in-house.

“This isn’t a drive-thru vehicle wrap company. The wrap is going to last a long time. Quality is our top priority. If you look at other vehicle wraps, our attention to detail is much better,” Mank said. “We tuck in all our corners and use an edge sealant to give the wrap longevity.”

So far, the coolest wrap has been the truck we wrapped for Knight Property Services, Mank said. “It went from snowflakes through grass to fall foliage. It really showcased the four seasons of his business.”

“We provide the highest quality in the State of Maine starting with our new printer and ending with our amazing installation,” he said. With a wrapped vehicle, a business owner pays just 35 cents per 1,000 impressions versus $7.75 with radio advertising or $23.70 with TV. Even outdoor business signage cost $3.56 per 1,000 views. “The two services we offer are the most cost effective forms of advertising for your business,” Mank said. 

Mank and his team travelled to Las Vegas to become certified Wrap Masters. 

“We can wrap anything. Laptops, iPads, table tops in your business, motorcycles, jet skis, boats, trailers, cars or even your 18-wheeler. If you want to get really inventive… we’ll wrap your plane,” Mank said. If someone didn’t want to have a design on their car, Time4Wrapz can also change the color of a car, which also protects the paint from the damaging effects of the elements.

Wraps range in price from a half-wrap for $1,000 to a full-wrap on a large crew-cab truck that might run $3,500 to $4,000. “It depends on design needs. Every project is custom quoted,” he said.
Other products Time4Wrapz provides are A-frame signs, which allow businesses to change the graphics every day, backlit panels for existing signs, standard vinyl lettering and window graphics. 
Time4Wrapz is only limited by a person’s imagination. “Keep an eye out for our 3-D wrapped trailer later this summer,” Mank stated.

To contact Time4Wrapz you can call 207-894-5600 or email

Grand opening celebrations

Saturday was a day of celebration for two area businesses. The rain held off and people turned out in more than expected numbers.


“We’re delighted with the turn out,” said Elaine Chipman of Chipman Farm, who organized the grand opening celebration for the Raymond Farm Stand, 1203

Roosevelt Trail in Raymond. Fresh strawberry shortcake, picked peas and greens as well as hanging baskets were all on sale. “It was a slow start because of the weather,” Chipman said. There were plenty of berries and live music from deBreeze and Keys floated around the stand. Rocket Monty’s Hot Dogs & More served hot dogs and hamburgers and everyone was encouraged to plant a pumpkin seed and to bring the resulting pumpkin back in the fall to see whose is the biggest. One of the most popular items was free samples of Needham whoopie pies.

Chipman Farm Stand is open daily. For more information visit them on Facebook or

Saturday was also the grand opening celebration for 4x4 Group Buy, owned by Jason LaLiberty. The company that helps upgrade 4x4 vehicles is located at Turning Leaf Drive, next to Buck’s Naked Barbeque.

“It’s a good turn out. The rain held off,” LaLiberty said. Food was provided, a DJ blasted out tunes and raffles were held for the length of the party. “We had close to $1,500 in donations from vendors and stuff we did (from the store),” he said.

Find out more about 4x4 Group Buy at

Plan Ahead for Your Own Financial Independence Day

This week, we celebrate Independence Day with fireworks, sparklers, picnics and parades. Amidst the hoopla, though, it’s always important to reflect on the many freedoms we enjoy in this country. And as an individual, you may want to use the occasion to think of another type of independence you’d like to enjoy — financial independence.

In some ways, we are living in a time when attaining financial freedom is more difficult than it has been for quite a while. We’re still recovering from the bursting of the housing bubble and the lingering effects of the great recession. Furthermore, wage stagnation is a real problem. In fact, median income for working-age households — those headed by someone under age 65 — actually slid 12.4 percent from 2000 to 2011. Taken together, these factors certainly impose challenges on anyone seeking to become financially independent and eventually enjoy a comfortable retirement.

Still, you need to do everything you can to put yourself on the path to financial independence. For starters, make full use of whatever resources are available to you. If you have a 401(k) or similar retirement plan at work, try to contribute as much as you can possibly afford — and every time you get a raise in salary, increase your contributions. At the very least, put in enough to earn your employer’s matching contribution, if one is offered. Also, within your 401(k) or similar plan, choose an investment mix that offers you the chance to achieve the growth you will need to make progress toward the type of retirement lifestyle you’ve envisioned.

In addition to contributing to your 401(k), you can also take advantage of another retirement account: a traditional or Roth IRA. Like a 401(k), a traditional IRA grows tax deferred, while a Roth IRA can grow tax free, provided you meet certain conditions. Plus, you can fund your IRA with virtually any type of investment, including stocks, bonds, certificates of deposit and Treasury securities.

What else can you do to help yourself move toward financial independence? For one thing, don’t become dependent on “hot tips” or other questionable financial advice about the next big thing in the investment world from so-called experts who often have poor prognostication records. Even more importantly, though, their advice may simply be inappropriate for your needs and risk tolerance.

Finally, consider these two suggestions: Maintain adequate liquidity and keep your debt levels as low as possible. By having enough cash reserves to cover unexpected costs, such as a major car repair or a new air-conditioning unit, you won’t have to dip into your long-term investments. And by keeping your debt payments down, you’ll have a stronger cash flow, which means you’ll have more money available to save and invest for your future.

Each one of these suggestions will require a commitment on your part, along with a clear focus on your goal of financial independence — there just aren’t any “short cuts.” But with a consistent effort, you can keep moving along on your journey toward your own financial Independence Day.    

This article was written by Edward Jones for use by your local Edward Jones Financial Advisor.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Spotlight On: 4x4 Group Buy

Jason LaLiberty was looking for a way to get discounted parts for 4-wheel drive vehicles after seeing video of a woman rolling her Jeep over in Utah and walking away. That’s when he came up with the idea to get a group of people together to buy in bulk and get a discount from the manufacturers. The idea called 4x4 Group Buy took off while he lived in Arizona.
“Jeep owners are very loyal. That’s what helped us. Seventy-five percent of our customers are Jeep owners, so loyal to the brand,” LaLiberty said. It’s not just Jeeps they carry parts for, however.
He opened a store on Route 4 in Auburn, but has completely relocated to the Shops at Sebago off Route 302 in Windham.
“We have more room for product and inventory,” LaLiberty said. The business is mostly Internet based, but since moving to Windham he has seen an increase in sales. Before the business moved to Auburn, only half a percent of the business was in Maine, now 10 to 15 percent of the business comes from within the state, he said.
“A lot of what we sell you can’t use on the roads in Maine,”  LaLiberty said. “But, Maine has definitely gotten better in the last five years.” Their top selling products are Rough Country suspension lift kits and tires as well as exhaust kits and diesel performance programmers, which gives a 4x4 “ridiculous amounts of power.” They also sell LED light bars. Prices range from $20 to $25,000. There’s something for any budget, he said. “We try to have the best prices on everything so they don’t have to shop around,”  LaLiberty said. The online volume helps keep prices lower for the local customers, he said.
On Saturday, 4x4 Group Buy is hosting a grand opening celebration with a barbeque, raffle and a DJ starting at 11 a.m. “The location here is a great spot,” he said. “I turned a hobby into a business. I like talking about Jeeps and trucks during the day,”  LaLiberty said. Visit them online at

Think LOCAL! Community Networking establishes business connections by Leah Hoenen

In an increasingly electronic world, face-to-face meetings can be vital to growing local businesses. Facilitating and fostering those personal connections among local entrepreneurs is the goal of networking group Think LOCAL! Community Networking, which hosts weekly meetings in support of area business people.

Meeting every Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., Think LOCAL! members each spend about a minute giving thumbnail introductions of themselves and their work, before listening to a featured presentation about business, said President Crystal Rogers. Monthly, the Think LOCAL! chapters meet for a larger meeting.

Rogers said the group’s mission is to support local businesses and non-profits and help them grow through business referrals based on networking and relationship building. “You don’t want to refer a family member to someone you don’t know. You want to refer them to someone you know and trust,” she said.

There are several regulars to the meetings, but drop-ins are always welcome, said Rogers.
Past President Gary Frappier said, “We live in an Internet world where people are connecting online. The business experience that results might not be favorable – maybe the work doesn’t come in on cost or on time.”

At Think LOCAL! meetings, people have a forum to connect on a more personal level. “This made sense to me – to go and develop a relationship of trust and to help each other’s business,” said Frappier, who joined the organization two years ago.

Frappier said the Windham chapter of Think LOCAL! centers around 10 regular attendees, and averages 12 to 15 participants each week. Anyone is welcome to join – nobody will be turned away based on their profession, he said.

Rogers said the Windham chapter includes a photographer, Legal Shield representative, an attorney, a picture framer and massage therapists. Members schedule one-on-one meetings with each other to spend additional time learning about the other’s business and personal lives, as well, she said.

Jeff Ball founded Think LOCAL! four years ago. Ball said he learned the value of meeting people and establishing relationships at his first job, when he was Program Director for a YMCA and attended a Chamber of Commerce meeting.

“We help the unemployed, small business entrepreneurs and so on. We act for the week as that person’s sales force. We go out into the community and spread the word about that person’s business,” said Ball. If he hears a person is looking for a financial advisor, he can refer them to a financial professional from his Think LOCAL! group.

“We are here to support presidents of banks down to the Tupperware lady. We’re there giving them a pat in the back or a kick in the rear, whatever they need for the week,” said Ball. “We each know about 200 people the business person doesn’t know, which gives them access to a professional network of 4,000 I can reach out to all because I go to a Think LOCAL! meeting one time a week.”
Windham attorney Phil Watson has been participating in Think LOCAL! meetings for a couple of years. He said referrals from the networking group come second or even third hand.

Attendance to weekly sessions is free, said Ball, although there is a $5 fee to attend events. The group accepts donations and sponsorships.

Think LOCAL! groups meet throughout Maine and New Hampshire, from Bangor to Dover and Portsmouth, said Ball. Think LOCAL! Community Networking is online at and on Facebook.